One of my all time favorite shrubs is the rhododendron. Sometimes I have heard gardeners call them “rhodies”, which may refer to a variety of many different types of shrubs in the species. There are also various sizes of these plants, but my memory takes me back to some of the most beautiful rhododendron that I saw while living in West Virginia. The rhododendron is the state flower of West Virginia, and there is no doubt why. Looking back on our years living there, I think about how beautiful they grew on the hillsides and along riverbanks and throughout yards and gardens in our neighborhood. I planted several at both homes we owned in Charleston.
Here in Michigan, I love my shrub which is nestled in my front yard at a focal corner of my home. The blooms have become more spectacular in the almost nine years we have lived here. I have been feeding and caring for this rhododendron, to cultivate the memory of those we had in past years living in the South.
Our shrub is in dappled shade and has probably the best protection at the base of the plant. We are not in the area cultivating, but leaving its’ roots well mulched. The space is brightened every late spring when it comes into bloom.
I never prune this shrub, but allow it to show and display the beautiful structured leaves throughout the year. And when winter arrives, I watch the leaves as they react to the cold and tell me that the season is changing.
I love my rhododendron and everything that it means to me.